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Loïc Le Groumellec: Écritures, mégalithes et cupules

Mégalithe et écritures, 2023, lacquer, acrylic and pencil on canvas
13.07.24 - 15.09.24

Galerie Karsten Greve AG, St. Moritz, Switzerland

Monday - Saturday: 10 am – 1 pm / 2 pm – 6.30 pm

Opening
on Saturday, July 13, 2024, from 5 pm to 7 pm.

The artist is present.

Press release

Galerie Karsten Greve is pleased to announce the third solo exhibition of French artist Loïc Le Groumellec in St. Moritz. The gallery presents a series of the artist´s new works, which strikingly underscore his ongoing commitment to minimal aesthetics. In his endeavour to bring this aesthetic back to the forefront, Le Groumellec pursues his artistic path by drawing certain motifs and other signs from his personal archaeology. Following his exploration of megaliths and abstract symbols, the artist now highlights a new form, discovered during photographic sessions at the Gavrinis megalithic monument: the so-called "cupules" or cup stones.

Ever since his discovery of lithographs of megaliths in the archives of Rennes (France), Loïc Le Groumellec has been working on this subject for over thirty years, pursuing it like an enduring quest. Megaliths are monumental stone structures from the Neolithic period, whose significance remains enigmatic to this day. They are generally associated with ritual, funerary or astronomical functions. Brittany megaliths are archaeological testimonies to the ingenuity of Neolithic civilisations and important symbols of Britanny´s cultural identity. Like Brancusi, who incorporated many elements of Romanian folklore into his creations, these immemorial stones and the associated local legends captivate the imagination of Loïc Le Groumellec and permeate his work. He tirelessly explores them, using them as tools or vectors to question the ultimate meaning of painting.

In his ongoing exploration of megaliths, Loïc Le Groumellec introduces a new sculptural form at the heart of his work, discovered during one of his visits to the Gavrinis cairn: cupules, or cup stones. These are small cavities cut into the surface of the stone, whose origin is unclear. Theories most often associate them with a form of writing or ancestral rituals, they might have been used, for example, to crush substances. Loïc Le Groumellec incorporates this new element at the centre of his triptychs, surrounded by fine handwriting. The latter is the artist's reproduction of phrases taken from the capitularies (royal decrees) of Charlemagne, in which the emperor ordered the destruction of all representations of pagan gods, including megaliths: “Whoever is sufficiently warned and does not remove from his field the simulacra erected there, shall be treated as sacrilegious and declared anathema.” For Le Groumellec, the words simulacra, sacrilegious and anathema are directly related to the pictorial language.

While these two elements are rich in symbolism, their plastic treatment, based on the repetition of the same motif, seems to dilute their meaning, or even cancel it. This is one of the distinctive features of Loïc Le Groumellec's work, which he himself associates with minimal art, in opposition to the overproduction of images, readily described – for a certain number at least - by the artist as vulgar and meaningless. By using a reduced, reiterated palette and motifs, Loïc Le Groumellec manages to put representation at a distance, achieving a pure form of visual expression. This desire to bring minimal aesthetics back at the forefront is the common thread running through his work.

These "sign-writings", which I have been treating for thirty years without any real effectiveness, are now becoming the focus of my work, enabling me to assert the concerns that have always been mine: to be part of a history of pictorial art that refers to minimalism, monochrome, and a form of radicalism that leads to a distrust, even a rejection, of any narrative through images. [...] These writings allow me to open up a field of obvious abstraction, but also to reaffirm what I have been asserting for nearly thirty years: the spiritual dimension of the act of painting and the fact of painting the sacred through megaliths and these writings".

Loïc Le Groumellec's works exude an inherent aura of mystery, reminiscent of the enigmatic stones of his native region; a sacred language that only these ancestral rocks could understand.

Exhibited works

Artists

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